Embracing Who I Am

I have shared my heart's passion for starting a support/recovery group especially for Adult Children of Hoarders--a place where as adults we can face head-on the traumas of our parent's (s') hoarding, mental illness and then grieve the childhood we lost, reparent ourselves with love, grace, and encouragement, and then learn new healthy habits.

Initially, I found the Adult Children of Alcoholics WSO and literature. Although the group was formed by the adult children who were raised in the homes of alcoholics, almost all of the literature rang true with the dysfunction of my chilhood. The "Laundry List" absolutely fit me, and I have seen the qualities listed within at some point or another in my life.

But I feared that the faith component of their literature (a slightly modified version of the 12 steps of AA) would exclude those who were agnostic or atheist. This really troubled me. I wanted to include everyone. I know all too well the feeling of not being included and I did not want to add that to the child of hoarding's complex. There are so many hurts, shame, pain, and guilt already weighing on us.

So I asked on the Children of Hoarders forum for feedback regarding the faith element. Feedback was mixed; some said that the steps as ACA holds them with a belief in a higher power would keep them from being a part of the group. And that really burdened me.

I considered revising the steps to be faith-neutral. I considered not starting a group. I considered forgetting about it altogether. If I couldn't include everyone, then I didn't want to do it.

But my heart, my God's pull within, kept me coming back to starting a group. So I continued to struggle with the faith issue. How can I reach everyone? How can I make everyone happy?

I can't.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith..." Romans 1:16 RSV

I have never been afraid to post here regarding my faith. I have never been afraid to admit that I am a Christian and that I see things, the world, with the view of a wonderful, loving Creator who designed me to do great things, who loves me even when I see myself as unlovable, who doesn't give up hope on me when I believe that I'm hopeless.

After dealing with the issues regarding my mother's hoarding, and subsequently what my childhood really was, I had to take a long hard look--over and over, one look is never enough--at who I am, what I believe, and what I want to become. When I was very honest with myself, I didn't like who I had become. I had become only a fraction of the dysfunctional mother that I had feared I would but I still hated that fraction. But there were things within me that developed because of my mother's illness that I didn't feel were bad.

One of these things was my reliance on God even in the face of what I believed were unanswered prayers. Although I have spent hours and hours trying to understand how God could/did/would not answer my childhood prayers requesting intervention in my situation, and even less when I heard that family members had also petitioned Him on my behalf, I knew that God had had His hand on me all along.

And I believe that the healing I desire cannot come from within myself, or from another person. The healing that I need and want can come only from one place--God.

(13)This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (14)With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: 'You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never perceive. (15)For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.' (16)But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. (17)Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. --excerpt from Matthew 13, RSV

Apparently Jesus knew 2000 years ago exactly what I would be up against. He knew that many would seek easy answers and would be blown from doctrine to doctrine without setting a foundation. Although I struggle to understand how God could have appeared to be silent for so long, I have a foundation to build upon. And with that foundation, God will reveal to me the things I need not only to seek healing and freedom, but will actually give them to me to possess!

It is not my responsibility to modify who I am and what I believe to offer an all-inclusive group. Jesus spoke in parables but only explained what his stories meant to those who really wanted to know. For those who just wanted to hear a good story, He delivered. But to those who were truly seeking Him and the Father, He gave further insight. He was not excluding the first group; they had excluded themselves.

The burden upon my heart regarding a foundation of faith is not an issue! As with Jesus and His parables, my group will be open to anyone who seeks an outlet for recovery and healing. ANYONE. For those who are offended or put off by my reliance on a Higher Power, in my case the Godhead of the Bible, they have the freedom and opportunity to embrace their own beliefs and follow their own hearts. Perhaps someone will start another group for them.

But I must be true to what little I do know about who I am: I am a child of God, and I believe that every good gift comes from above (James 1:17). And I believe that without God, there are no good gifts and no true healing. And so, the decision has been made to create a group for children of faith, or at least children open to a Higher Power.

Father, thank you for placing people around me who speak the truth with love. What should have been painfully obvious to me alluded me causing greater inner conflict. But I praise you for all the wonderful blessings you've bestowed upon me, not the least of which is clarity and the admonition from your word. Thank you for pressing down upon me until I get it. And thank you for not giving up on me easily. In Jesus' name, AMEN.


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